In February of 2020, leading video hosting and sharing platform Vimeo launched a new tool called Vimeo Create. Create is a suite of tools and templates to help creators and small business owners quickly make high-impact social and promotional videos.
Vimeo released Vimeo Create specifically to level the playing field for small businesses by democratizing access to video marketing, aiming to make it easier for SMBs to market themselves on social without needing professional in-house designers or social teams.
A few short weeks after the launch of Vimeo Create, the Coronavirus pandemic hit, and small businesses faced an unprecedented time. As many storefronts were left to close and SMBs struggled to stay afloat, Vimeo and Vocal decided to team up to do some good and make a difference.
In partnering, Vocal and Vimeo ultimately wanted to accomplish a few goals—most importantly, to help those struggling through the pandemic, whether that meant small business owners who were forced to close, or creators who had just lost jobs and had fallen on tough times. Vimeo also sought to make small businesses aware of their new tool, and get Create in front of the SMB owners it was built to help. Create is available exclusively to Vimeo Pro users, so a secondary goal of the Challenge campaign was to encourage signups for free trials of Vimeo Pro.
Vocal for Brands’ solution
To accomplish these goals, Vocal launched the Pay It Forward Challenge: a storytelling contest asking creators on Vocal to test out the Vimeo Create tool and create a promotional social video for a local business, restaurant, independent seller, or online shop that was struggling and deserved support. Creators then shared the video they had made in a Vocal story highlighting the small business—including how they were founded, how they impacted a community, what makes them or their products special, and most importantly, how readers could actively support them.
The Challenge ran for six weeks, and was open to anyone who wanted to enter. However, in order to be considered an eligible entry, the story had to include an original video clip made using Vimeo Create. This meant that in order to complete their entry, creators had to sign up for a free trial of Vimeo Pro—and these trial memberships had the potential to turn into longer term paid subscriptions.
After creating and entering their story, creators were also encouraged to promote the story off-platform, by using their Create video on their own social media accounts, or sharing the entry with the small business they highlighted and encouraging them to promote the story with their customers and networks. This way, creators could get more reads on their stories, but were also incentivized to make Create’s target consumers, the small business owners, aware of the tool.
The Challenge was judged by members of both Vocal’s and Vimeo’s teams, and offered prizes of $5,000, $2,500, and $1,000 for the first, second, and third place winners respectively. All three winners also received a free one year membership of Vimeo Pro, and the small business highlighted by the first place winner was gifted a $2,500 donation.
Throughout the six-week duration, the Pay It Forward Challenge saw 645 total entries, which garnered a total of 8,190 total reads on the stories—meaning awareness generated for Vimeo Create, and for the small businesses highlighted by our Vocal creators. The eligible entries ranged widely in the businesses they highlighted—some creators chose to give a nod to a local favorite restaurant, some highlighted local distilleries or producers who had turned to producing hand sanitizer to help their communities, and some small business owners chose to raise awareness for their own small shop or online business.
The first place winner of the Challenge was creator Meghan Navoy, one of these business owners who highlighted her own small shop based in Detroit. The business, Rosemarine Textiles, is a zero-waste textile studio focused on handmade sustainable textiles, which pivoted to making facemasks when the pandemic hit the US. You can watch the winning video, created using Vimeo Create, here.
Thanks to the Pay it Forward Challenge we were able to give Rosemarine Textiles a well-deserved spotlight and a $2,500 contribution to help the shop with expenses, and our creator Meghan also received the $5,000 grand prize.
At the same time, Vimeo garnered hundreds of stories by authentic creators who used the Vimeo Create tool—meaning that they included a Vimeo Create-generated video, fulfilled the ask of the contest, and met all other requirements specified for the Challenge, including signing up for Vimeo Pro subscriptions with the potential to become long-term paying subscribers.